Love to use smartwatches, fitness trackers to keep a check on your health? If you are using pacemakers or other implanted cardiac electronic devices for your heart health, these wearable gadgets may inadvertently affect your heart health, warned a study.
The rise of wearable health tech has grown rapidly in recent years, blurring the line between medical and consumer devices.
The study, published in Heart Rhythm, noted that despite the obvious benefits, certain fitness and wellness trackers could pose serious risks among people using cardiac implantable electronic devices such as pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), and cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) devices.
It is because the smartwatches, rings or scales emit electrical currents which can interfere with these lifesaving implantable heart devices, causing them to malfunction.
"The present findings do not recommend the use of these devices in this population due to potential interference," said researchers from the University of Utah in the US.
For the study, the team evaluated the safety of smart scales, smart watches, and smart rings with bioimpedance technology via simulation and testing.
"Bioimpedance sensing generated an electrical interference that exceeded Food and Drug Administration-accepted guidelines and interfered with proper CIED functioning," explained lead investigator Benjamin Sanchez Terrones, from the varsity's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
He emphasised that the results, determined through careful simulations and benchtop testing, do not convey an immediate or clear risk to patients who wear the trackers, but noted that the different levels emitted could result in pacing interruptions or unnecessary shocks to the heart.
"Our findings call for future clinical studies examining patients with CIEDs and wearables."